By Vlad Mackevic

This question is not as easy to answer as it seems. A paragraph, in essence, is a mini-essay. Therefore, it must have its own introduction, main body and conclusion.

One paragraph should contain one idea. This how a paragraph should be structured:

1. A topic sentence;

2. An explanation of the topic sentence;

3. An example, a piece of evidence that supports the topic sentence. Here you can do the following:

  • Give examples to illustrate your idea
  • provide a quotation or reference that supports your topic statement
  • anticipate counterarguments and respond to them
  • offer another perspective to the idea (to provide a balanced opinion)

4. An explanation of significance of that example or evidence (why is that example important or relevant).

Please see an example of a paragraph below. The numbers mark the following elements:

(1) The introductory sentence;

(2) A reference and a quote that elaborates the argument;

(3) Logical conclusion from what the referenced author says; explaining why what is said above is relevant;

(4) Coming back to today’s context. Linking to the essay question;

(5) Responding to potential counterarguments;

(6) The concluding sentence.

The essay question:

Using relevant theory (e.g. motivation), discuss the extent to which the principles of scientific management are relevant to organisations in the early 21st century.

The paragraph:

One must be familiar with the historical context of the scientific management theory (1). Merriman (2004) states that in the end of the nineteenth – beginning of the twentieth centuries the USA was experiencing an immigration boom. Many people left Europe seeking the better life in the United States. They wanted to escape poverty or persecution. However, the life they found in the New World was also a hard one. They ‘depended on their labor for survival’ (2) (Merriman, 2004, p. 836). They also, according to Merriman (2004) had ‘harsh working conditions’ and ‘low wages’ (p. 837). Many of these people were form poor regions like southern Italy. Many of them were Jews from Eastern Europe. Therefore, they spoke English badly, or did not speak it at all. (Merriman, 2004). Taylor’s theory was to be applied to these people, since, as common sense tells one, these people could do only simple, unskilled work, and splitting the task into subtasks made workforce training very easy (3). However, nowadays the situation is really different (4). Many more people are becoming skilled workers and English is a global language, too. Hence, the Taylor’s principles are not that relevant. But of course, one must not forget that unskilled labour still exists (5). Therefore, the relevance of Frederick Taylor’s scientific management depends on the context in which these principles are applied (6).

Please watch this video to find out more:


P.S. This article is based on Vlad Mackevic’s book From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write a First-Class Essay. You can download sample chapters of the book for FREE by clicking here or by entering your email address below.

The book can also be purchased on in paperback and Kindle eBook formats. If you do not own a Kindle reader, Amazon provides a range of FREE applications for your computer, Smartphone or Tablet.

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